Tips to relieve your dry eyes.
It’s no surprise that the dry heat, low-air humidity, and harsh winds of winter can cause eye dryness. But dry eyes are not merely a winter condition.
Many people suffer year round from the problem of dry eyes, brought on by inadequate tear production. With eye dryness you may also have redness, stinging, burning, blurry vision, fatigue, difficulty wearing contacts, sensitivity to light, or feel a foreign object is stuck in your eyes.
While over-the-counter or prescription eye drops are available to add lubrication and relieve the discomfort of dry, irritated eyes, here are a few other simple tips to prevent and treat dry eyes.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Research shows that eating plenty of omega-3 fatty acids is one way to relieve the symptoms of dry eyes. Fatty acids found in salmon, tuna, other fatty fish; flaxseed; walnuts; and vegetable oils have the ability to reduce inflammation throughout the body, including eye inflammation. You can also purchase omega-3 fatty acid supplements. However, they may cause an upset stomach or leave a fishy aftertaste in your mouth.
Humidify the Air
In order for your eyes to stay moist, the humidity level in your home or office should remain between 30 and 55 percent. During the cold winter months when the dry heat is constantly pumping, the humidity level can easily fall below the range needed for lubricated eyes. If you find that your eyes become especially dry and irritated when the heat is on, try running a humidifier in your home to add moisture to the air, keep a dish of water by the hearth, or don’t run the exhaust fan in your bathroom when you shower.
If you find that your eyes become especially dry from staring at a computer screen for hours on end, here are some tips to relieve the discomfort. First, position your computer screen below the level of your eyes either by raising your chair or lowering the screen. Having the screen at eye level causes you to keep your eyes open wider in order to view everything. If it’s lower than eye level, you won’t have to keep your eyes open as wide and this will slow the evaporation of your tears between blinks.
Second, take breaks from staring at a computer screen, television screen, book, or anything else that requires visual concentration. It is easy to forget to blink if you’re staring at something for a long period of time. Remember to blink every few seconds or even close your eyes for a couple minutes every hour or so to allow your tears to spread back over your eyes.
Protect Your Eyes
Many environmental factors can bother your eyes and cause dryness. Guard your eyes from direct airflow from hair-dryers, car heaters, air-conditioners, or fans to help your peepers stay moist. On dry or windy days, wear sunglasses.
Safety shields on the sides and tops of glasses will add an even better barrier from wind and dry air. When you swim, wear goggles to protect your eyes from the pool chemicals. Additionally, stay hydrated. Your body needs fluids to create the tears needed for lubricated eyes. And last but not least, avoid being around secondhand smoke, and if you smoke – stop! Along with all its other negative health affects, smoke worsens dry eye symptoms.
Bring on the Tears
These tips should help bring relief for dry, tearless eyes. However, if you’ve suffered from dry eyes and all the uncomfortable symptoms that go along with them for a long period of time and nothing seems to bring relief, seek medical attention. A primary care physician or optometrist can help determine the cause of your dry eyes and possibly prescribe medication to treat it.